NAIWE’s Summer Challenge: Here is What I’m Doing

NAIWE Summer Challenge 2011Every year, the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) sponsors a Summer Challenge to help writers, editors, and other entrepreneurs get a bit extra done during the slower months of summer. It’s not meant to ruin the summer by making it a rat race; it’s just meant to provide a focus for the things we do choose to read and do. The three parts of the challenge are:

  1. Read three books that will stretch your mind and inspire your creative spirit.
  2. Finish one project that’s been nagging at you for longer than you care to admit.
  3. Brainstorm a new project that will bring you an additional stream of income, then take the first step to make it happen.

1: Here’s what I plan to read for the Challenge:

  • The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba 
  • Creating a Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd
  • The Creative Entrepreneur: A DIY Visual Guidebook for Making Business Ideas Real by Lisa Sonora Beam
  • The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
  • The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World by John Elkington
  • The Encyclopedia of Writing and Illustrating Children’s Books: From creating characters to developing stories, a step-by-step guide to making magical picture books by Desdemona McCannon
  • How to Make Books: Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book by Esther K. Smith
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by Neil Postman
  • Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
  • There Are No Shortcuts by Rafe Esquith
  • How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition by David Bornstein
  • Hamlet’s BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age by William Powers
  • The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz
  • More books by John Eldredge

I’ll also finish or re-read a few other books in my stack, plus a bit of fiction. I realize that this list contains more than three books. Despite being an English major, I do know how to count. However, I read quickly and voraciously, and reading only three books in a summer is akin to eating only one Utz Smokin’ Sweet chip. It ain’t gonna happen.

I reserve the right to start any of these books and not finish them if they aren’t as good as I hope. And I also reserve the right to add more or substitute another book that comes across my desk. There are so many good books and so little time that I believe it pays to focus on things that will broaden insight  and increase inspiration. Always leavened with a bit of fun, of course.

2: The project I’m going to finish is the new Excellence in Literature website. I have outsourced a lot of the work on that, so may instead focus on finishing my book on teaching language arts. I’ll decide for sure when I see how fast the website is progressing, as it’s the top priority. I also plan to create a visual map for next year (I’ll post about visual maps someday– remind me!).

3: New Project: Since I have a nice, orderly list of seven projects waiting for my attention, it scarcely seems wise to think of another one. However, I have thought of another project– something that will be useful to me, as well as to other creative entrepreneurs. I’m still brainstorming, but I will hope to post something about it by the end of summer.

You can see what other Challenge takers are reading and doing by visiting the comments you’ll find on the NAIWE Challenge post. Enjoy!

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